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The Most Common Marketing Mistakes

The Most Common Marketing Mistakes

Steve Eveleigh

Common Marketing Mistakes That Could be Costing Your Company Money

People all around the world are familiar with Apple. As of 2016, Apple had sold over one billion iPhones worldwide. In fact, you might even be reading this article on a smartphone right now. I bet you didn’t know that one of the co-creators of the famous brand, Steve Wozniak, was originally sceptical about getting involved. Wozniak didn’t believe that the development skills of 1971 were advanced enough to make a significant impact in technology. He was even more doubtful of his abilities, considering what we now know to be a lie: that he didn’t know enough about the newest developments in computers. Fast forward a few decades and Apple is one of the most successful companies in the world.

Wozniak’s feelings of inadequacy are not unique. We can truly be our own worst critics. Sometimes we just need a push to become more optimistic about our abilities, which is what happened to Wozniak. Steve Jobs was able to encourage his partner to push harder and have more faith in their vision. As we can see, this was all Wozniak needed to get on board and create the powerful company that is Apple.

Wozniak simply had to stop believing the lie that he was telling himself- that he wasn’t good enough. When he overcame this deception, he was able to create a successful business. Many companies make excuses that hinder their success in regards to marketing strategies and growth. Let’s talk about some of the most common reasons we have heard and why they are so dangerous:

Common Marketing Mistakes #1: “We are the best in the industry.”

It is necessary to believe in what your company does, and even to be proud of it, but overconfidence can impede growth. Have you ever heard of confirmation bias? Confirmation bias is the inclination to interpret new information as validation of one’s existing beliefs. This affects companies because when they get positive reviews, they focus more on these reviews than those who are negative or constructive. Have you ever wanted someone’s approval so badly that when they finally gave you their opinion, you only heard what you wanted to hear? This can affect companies, too. When they see positive reviews, they are understandably elated; however, it is common for businesses to become so excited by these reviews that they get tunnel vision and don’t even notice the negative or constructive reviews that customers have left. Although no company wants to receive a review that isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, it is important to take note of complaints that the clients have had so businesses can improve their services. By engaging with negative reviews on the same level as positive reviews, companies can stay grounded and keep their existing customer base. Customers need to see that companies prioritise customer satisfaction and honest communication. This is only possible by maintaining a careful balance between showcasing your business’s strengths and being aware of its limitations.

Common Marketing Mistakes #2: “MQLs are unimportant.”

There is not a uniform definition for a market qualified lead. Typically, companies label those they wish to attract by their marketing to be MQLs. Perceptive marketers will designate market qualified leads as people who are already aware of your business, fit the description of an ideal customer and seem probable to become a future customer or, at the very least, tell their friends about the company. However, because statistics indicate that there is no direct relationship between MQL’s and ROI, many companies assume that these individuals do not matter. This could not be a bigger lie. While is true that MQLs don’t have a guaranteed immediate impact on your sales, that does not mean that they are irrelevant. Building long-term relationships with MQLs can lead to increased profits in the future. By maintaining these relationships, you can accumulate a database of engaged prospects utilised for future sales.

Common Marketing Mistakes #3: “If it doesn’t happen in a few months, it will never occur.”

You may be familiar with the saying, “life is like a race, not a marathon.” If you’re anything like me, this is not an easy concept to grasp. I like to put to work and see results immediately. Patience is not first nature to many. However, you can’t train for a day and expect to run a marathon, nor can you opt for a salad instead of a burger at lunch and lose 10 pounds by tomorrow. The reality is that a good thing can take time and often if we try to rush them, they end up falling apart. If you want to finish that marathon first, you’ll need to train every single day for months. If losing weight is a priority for you, you will need to develop a strict diet and exercise plan and stick to it. Every. Single. Day.

Marketing is no different. SEO, inbound and natural digital results do not happen overnight; but if you stick with them, your efforts do pay off. However, you may be thinking, Marketing strategies and marathons are not the same. Marketing is much more complicated, and I have too much on the line to waste my time waiting. Persistence and dedication are vital in the field of marketing. When investing in new marketing strategies, it is important to realise that, though the wait may be longer, the results that will be delivered could far surpass your expectations.

Common Marketing Mistakes #4: “Our numbers of new customers are increasing; we must be doing well.”

The problem here is not the acquisition of new clients. Gaining new customers is always exciting! However, it is important to also pay attention to fluctuations in your overall number of customers. Keeping an old customer is just as important as gaining a new one. It is important to invest equally in initiatives to both obtain new customers and retain existing ones. If you want to have a return on your initial investment, this point is crucial to remember.

Common Marketing Mistakes #5: “We tried blogging; it didn’t work out.”

I like to think that I am a good cook. I've never complaints about my cooking and even offers of the occasional compliment. However, if you asked someone to pick up who made the better roast chicken between myself and Martha Stewart, I would lose. Badly. There is a difference between being decent at something and being great at something. When companies tell me that they had a blog and it was a failure, I often think back to this analogy. Did they blog like how I cook? Or were they the Martha Stewarts of blogging? More often than not, companies blog like how I cook. Decent, but not quite good enough. As one can expect, it is the great blogs, not the decent ones, that are successful.

A successful blog is one that is well-planned and consistently updated. Bloggers must be tenacious, and both develop and implement a clear-cut strategy for the success of their blog. Bloggers must holistically understand their customers so that they can determine the most relevant content to produce, but also the best ways to recruit readers. Many companies decide to start a blog to keep up with other companies but do not recognise the amount of work that must go into making it successful. The strategy is key, but if not paired with consistency and tenacity, blogs will fail. For example, a company could post on their blog every day but will not attract high quantities of readers if they do not utilise tools like CTAs. When executed correctly, any blog can be a success.

Common Marketing Mistakes #6: “Everyone already knows us.”

Similar to the belief that they are the best at what they do, this lie can hinder a company’s growth. Many companies employ the services of a marketing strategist, yet stress that people already know who they are and what they do. They often elaborate that there is no need to explain themselves to prospective customers further because they are already so well-known. What often happens next is, after doing some research, they realise that not as many people as expected are familiar with the company. Apparently, those who work in the company know their mission and approach inside and out, but what might sound redundant to them is necessary to explain to those outside the enterprise. Much like confirmation bias, this lie is easy to believe because the company may have a significant amount of business. However, upon further inspection, it can be determined that the firm is primarily from those that are already familiar with them. By assuming that they are more well-known than they truly are, a company can miss out on the opportunity for significant growth.

Common Marketing Mistakes #7: “Our work is complex.”

Although this statement contradicts the one above, it is heard just as often. When creating marketing content, particularly on a company’s website, what they do must be summarised in short paragraphs and presented in a way that is attractive to prospective customers. However, often companies will protest and insist that their work is complicated and requires a more in-depth explanation. However, customers are not attracted to complexity; they are drawn to simplicity. Think about it: when you are researching a new product, would you read through a description that is pages long? Or would you rather read a short, concise paragraph that adequately summarises it? I bet you would choose the latter. The same goes with marketing. It is crucial to make what you do easily for everyone to understand; thus, simplicity is key.

Common Marketing Mistakes #8:“Our subject matter experts don’t have time to write content.”

When companies don’t encourage their SMEs to contribute to marketing material, they are doing themselves a great disservice. SMEs are incredibly valuable when it comes to marketing because they know the products and services that your company provides best. It’s not enough for a company to say what they know; they also need to show what they know.
Would you rather have someone tell you that they can make a shot from the half-court line or show you? It is important that SMEs take the time to contribute to content because knowledge attracts customers.

Claiming that SMEs don’t have the time to participate is a bad excuse. The concept of being “busy” is quite misleading. Being busy does not mean that we are unavailable; we become active because we have too many things to do, but we do have control over which of these things we prioritise. It is up to marketers to convey to SMEs the importance of their contributions to content. Content exemplifies a company’s expertise. It solidifies their title as an “expert” and shows future customers that they do know their stuff.

There is no need for companies to worry if their SMEs aren’t excellent writers; it does not mean that they cannot be involved with content creation. They only need to free up a few hours each month to be interviewed by someone who can write about their knowledge.

Common Marketing Mistakes #9: “New marketing strategies are risky.”

You may have heard the Albert Einstein quote, “A ship is always safe at the shore, but that is not what it is built for.” To stand out in the industry as innovative companies on the cutting-edge, it is necessary for businesses to employ new marketing strategies. Often, employees are apprehensive about implementing a new strategy with which they are unfamiliar. Most people find familiarity comfortable. However, playing it safe does not guarantee success. It can be scary, but taking a leap of faith regarding marketing pays off more often than not. In fact, very often all that a company needs is a change in marketing strategy to completely revitalise their brand and expand their customer base.

Common Marketing Mistakes #10:“We will attract more customers by sticking to our core area of expertise.”

While understandable, this lie is detrimental to a company’s growth. Imagine that you run a blog about the best cheesecake in New York. You are an expert on cheesecake and know all of the best spots to get it in the city. However, every once in a while, you might also write a post about ice cream or macarons. If you only wrote about cheesecake until the end of time, you would run out of things to say. You also might be able to attract more viewers to your blog by adding variety to your posts. Someone who was initially surfing the web for ice cream spots in New York might come across your blog and stay because they also enjoy cheesecake.

This idea also applies to marketing for companies. To create dynamic, engaging content that isn’t repetitive and that attracts all possible customers; companies have to branch out from of their area of expertise. Sometimes, companies wonder how to write about a topic that falls outside of their particular core business. Research and interviews are critical here. Research allows any writer to become knowledgeable on their topic and interviews can supplement research by providing information from real experts.

Common Marketing Mistakes #11: “Our target audience doesn’t use social media.”

Though the prevalence of this belief has decreased in the last few years, it is somehow still quite common, despite statistics showing otherwise. Research shows that nearly 80% of people who are online use Facebook. This study doesn’t even take into account other social media platforms such as Twitter and LinkedIn. By believing the lie that utilising social media as a marketing strategy is not relevant, companies can be losing quite a bit of money. While it may not be worth your business’s time to establish a significant social media presence, it could hurt if you neglect it altogether. Facebook ads target particular demographics, which could be a simple way to attract potential customers to your company, especially considering, chances are, they’re already on the social media platform. Even B2B businesses can benefit from researching social media platforms by investigating similar brands.

Common Marketing Mistakes #12: “Nobody searches for what we do online so why have a digital presence?”

While it is certainly true that not every customer follows the standard Buyer’s Journey, it would be misleading to believe that absolutely no one searches for your company’s subject online. Even if your buyer themselves is not conducting the research directly, the chances are that they have assigned someone with the task. Very rarely is a company not researched before a buyer decides to work with them. In a day and age where people Google search reviews for everything from hair salons to restaurants, you can be sure that your prospective customers will research your company online, as well.

Quit making excuses!

Before blindly believing any of these excuses, take a minute to determine whether or not they are true. More often than not, they are complete lies! Don’t let them hinder your company from implementing a successful marketing strategy. Oh, and maybe you want to take a look at our latest guide to inbound marketing - you never know it might be useful. 

Originally published on 04/10/17 16:14

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